VFC Foods Ltd, a UK-based vegan fried chicken startup founded by Veganuary founder Matthew Glover only 13 months ago, has raised £7.5 million ($10.3 million) in a venture round led by Veg Capital, with intentions to expand into US and worldwide markets.
Following a massively successful 2021 that saw growth into mainland Europe and mainstream retail expansion into the UK’s largest supermarket Tesco, the social media star will use the new funds to support increased capacity, team building, marketing, R&D, and upscaling of the business in international markets.
Veg Finance is an ethical fund that distributes all earnings to animal charities and offers early-stage capital to startups seeking to eliminate animals from our food chains. It previously participated in VFC’s earlier seed round in March of last year. As a result, VFC claims that the two companies’ missions are ideally matched, however a larger Series A financing might take place next year in order to attract outside investors, after strong interest.
“There has been huge interest from investors and we’re very grateful for that. By working with Veg Capital we’ve been able to focus purely on scaling the business as fast as possible to take advantage of the opportunity,” Glover stated.
Plans for Growth in the United States
The founders of VFC were encouraged to forsake their progressive approach to a US launch and focus on more ambitious and fast-paced aims after exhibiting at last month’s Plant Based World Expo in New York, which garnered so much interest. The hunt for a US general manager kicks off the US strategy, which aims to accelerate expansion in North America, where large listings are already in the works.
“The reception from both customers and consumers has been incredible, and the successful Tesco launch has allowed us to secure listings in more of the UK’s top four grocers, as well as the largest food service wholesalers. Expansion within the UK has been phenomenal, and we are also seeing strong international demand, particularly from the US,” said Stewart McGuckin, VFC’s Commercial Director.
“The rapid expansion of VFC has been exciting to see, and Veg Capital is delighted to support this young company as it hits its stride. My wife and I have been so impressed that we’ve chosen to reinvest through our private fund Johnson Resolutions as well,” stated Cliff Johnson of Veg Capital.
“We are determined to play our part in ending the suffering of animals in factory farms.”
VFC co-founder, chef, and COO Adam Lyons is now working on the third version of VFC chick*n, which will have a texture and flavor similar to that of animal-based chicken. “Our recent poll revealed that more than two thirds of people would be willing to trade meat from animals for plant-based meat if it tasted as good. That’s very encouraging for our mission. Already, we’ve spared 60,000 birds but, as that is just the number of animals crammed inside two sheds, we have a long way to go. Still, we have an incredibly driven team, all 100% committed to doing good in this world, and we are determined to play our part in ending the suffering of animals in factory farms.”
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